NEW YORK — New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Thursday that he will seek the Democratic nomination for president, adding his name to an already long list of candidates itching for a chance to take on Donald Trump.
The mayor announced his run with a video released by his campaign, then headed to the Statue of Liberty, where he said the country is in an "identity crisis" around immigration, which he called "the founding and unifying element of the American experience."
"We are figuring out who we are," he said. "There are American values we need to return to and fight for in order to achieve our greatest potential."
On his campaign's first day, he dove into an insult match with Trump.
During an appearance on "Good Morning America," de Blasio borrowed one of Trump's tactics by giving the president a disparaging nickname: Con Don.
"He's a con artist. I know his tricks. I know his playbook," the mayor said.
Trump tweeted that de Blasio was "considered the worst mayor in the U.S."
The president said, "He is a JOKE, but if you like high taxes & crime, he's your man. NYC HATES HIM!"
In announcing his candidacy, de Blasio, 58, seeks to claim a role on the national stage that has eluded him as mayor of the biggest U.S. city.
When he took office in 2014, de Blasio seemed briefly poised to become a leading voice for an emerging left wing of the Democratic Party. His central message then and now is fighting income inequality, a theme he hit in the video announcing his candidacy.
"There's plenty of money in this world. There's plenty of money in this country. It's just in the wrong hands," he said.
Liberal enthusiasm faded during his first term, partly because of political missteps at home and the emergence of bigger names elsewhere. He could face obstacles trying to distinguish himself in a crowded field.
After his appearance at the Statue of Liberty for a ceremony opening a new museum, de Blasio planned to travel to Iowa to campaign Friday, then fly to South Carolina for events Saturday and early Sunday.
De Blasio has drawn small audiences so far in visits to early primary states including New Hampshire, where just six attendees showed up for a mental health discussion.
A recent Quinnipiac University poll found 76 percent of New York City voters say they believe he shouldn't run.
Local criticism has focused less on his policies than his reputation for stumbles, like showing up late to a memorial for plane crash victims, getting into a feud with the state's Democratic governor and dropping a groundhog during a Groundhog Day celebration.